Hoi An is a small city in the central Vietnam, known mainly for its UNESCO heritage ancient city center. However, apart from cruising through streets of the ancient town, there are plenty of other options how to spend your day and fall in love with Hoi An pretty easily.
Before coming here I heard two things about Hoi An. First comment was that people usually planning to stay in Hoi An for 1 or 2 days, but in the end, they stay longer. The second comment was that even Hoi An is colorful and fun, it is also touristic and overrated, though is it completely enough to stay one day. I agree, that Hoi An doesn’t have to be everyone favorite, however, for us, it has been one of the most enjoyable cities in Southeast Asia.
Based on those insights we planned to stay 4 days in Hoi An with a possibility to prolong our stay in case Hoi An will be a BOMB. Long story short, first we prolong our stay by another 3 days, then we prolong it for another 3 days. In total, we spend 10 days in Hoi An and we don’t regret a single day.
So, What to do in Hoi An to have a best time of your life?
1. Get lost in the streets of Ancient town
The ancient town is a UNESCO heritage site for a reason. It consists of colorful houses with lanterns, shops, cafes and restaurants that are a paradise for every Instagrammer. It is fun just to walk around and get amazed by the beauty of every house, cozy cafes or tasty restaurants.
2. Bike through rice fields
The city of Hoi An is not only a city center as the city is spread out around a river. On the way to the beach, there are rice fields that are perfect for small bike or motorbike trip. Observe the water buffaloes or the locals working in the fields. And get amazed by the dazzling green color.
3. Get tan on An Bang beach
Get this. Hoi An also has beaches, pretty decent ones. My favorite is An Bang. You can decide at which part of An Bang you want to stay. I would recommend going either at the beginning or at the end, as that is where the beach is not that busy. Price for renting beds with the umbrella is 50k for one bed but you can also lay on the sand. As you wish. Parking should be for free, so if they are asking you money for parking, you know that you are in the wrong spot.
4. Food orgasm at Vy’s market
Ms. Vy is Vietnam’s recognized chef. She runs 4 restaurants in Hoi An, all of them known for the delicious food experience. We tried Vy’s market and get excited not only by the food itself but also by the concept of the restaurant. I can recommend Mi Quang a typical noodle meal in Hoi An region.
5. Eat the best sandwich at Phi Banh Mi
We found this place on Trip Advisor, having a really good rating. After we tried the sandwiches for the first time, we kept coming back. Our ultimate favorite was n.1 on the menu – Vietnamese sandwich.
6. Get a tailored dresses or suit
As soon as you enter the Hoi An imaginary borders, you will see hundred of shops offering a tailored clothes and shoes (like you see on the picture). You can really get everything from leather flip flops to suit for an affordable price within 2 or 3 days. I would recommend negotiating a price prior to the purchase and I would also be careful about the quality. I can highly recommend a Chic boutique offering simple and unique clothes for males and females. Long sleeve male shirt cost 350.000 and my long dresses cost 400.000.
7. Watch a sunset in a rice fields
After a day on a beach or a day in the town, there is nothing better than grabbing a bike or motorbike and going around the rice field for a sunset. The sun gets reddish and together with green rice fields, it is an unforgettable experience. Get your camera ready.
8. Get a lunch in a Market
A favorite place to get a lunch is a local Market. You can also try one of the Hoi Ans typical meals which are White rose of Fried wontons. Inside the Market, you will find many different stands offering pretty much the same menu for the same price, so it makes it quite easy (or difficult!) to choose one. Be prepare that the place gets packed during a lunch time.
9. Eat like a local with locals
There is no doubt about high-quality restaurants in Hoi An. But there are also many cheap places where locals are eating typical Hoi An meals – Cau Lai or Pho bo. Do not get discouraged by the plastic chairs and low level of English. The food is fresh, very tasty, cheaper and the quality is sometimes better than some of the restaurants in the town.
10. Get your lantern lit in the night
As soon as the sun goes down the ancient town changes into a colorful fairy tales with lantern everywhere. If you loved the town during the day, you will probably love it even more during a night. Once a month there is a lantern festival when the streets get packed and crazy. You can find the exact days of 2017 lantern festivals here. But the same beautiful atmosphere occurs every evening. You can buy one of the lanterns by the river for 20k.
11. Stay longer than you planned
It will be easier than you think. You will not even notice but Hoi An will do the magic and it will be hard for you to leave. So if you have time, spend one or two or more days extra in this beautiful city. You can find more tips on what to do in Hoi An and its surrounding in Nomadic Matt’s travel guide.
Hope you liked the article. What is your favorite thing to do in Hoi An? Let me know in the comment. Happy Travels and don’t forget to share this post or PIN the picture below for later. Sharing is caring!